Fariborz Maseeh is a pioneer in the field of micro-electro mechanical systems (MEMS) and philanthropist who founded IntelliSense in 1991 and later sold it in 2000. He is the founder and managing principal of Picoco LLC, an investment management firm which invests in various assets and manages several proprietary traded hedge funds. He is the founder of Kids Institute for Development and Advancement (KiDA), an Irvine, California treatment clinic and education facility for autistic children. He is the founder of Orbitron LP, a global macro long-short hedge fund. He is the founder and president of The Massiah Foundation, a charitable organization..
Life and career
Early life and Education
Fariborz Maseeh was born in Tehran, Iran, and arrived in Portland, Oregon at the age of 18. He graduated from Portland State University with a Bachelor of Science degree in Engineering with honors in Structural Engineering. He then graduated from the University of Texas at Austin with a Master’s Degree. While there, he performed research in the Department of Aeronautics. Maseeh returned to Portland to assist his family and during that time he returned to PSU and, in 1984, earned another Master's Degree in Applied Mathematics. After his family life was stabilized, he ventured to Boston to earn a Doctorate Degree at the Massachusetts Institute of Technology. After receiving his doctorate in 1990, Dr. Maseeh started working as a Senior Research Scientist at a technology start-up firm in Silicon Valley. He resigned after one year to found IntelliSense.
Life as a Technology Entrepreneur
Maseeh left the small start-up firm and founded IntelliSense in 1991. Under Maseeh's leadership focusing on customer satisfaction and the quality of products, IntelliSense successfully created the first custom design, development and manufacturing MEMS (microelectromechanical systems) operation and became one of the world's fastest-growing MEMS companies. It was twice named to the New England Technology "Fast 50"  and the Forbes' "Fast 500". Following the transaction, Maseeh joined the Corning management team but resigned after a year. Maseeh founded Picoco LLC as well as the Massiah Foundation in 2001.
Life as an Investor
Maseeh manages an investment firm, Picoco, where he manages hedge funds, real estate funds, educational and entertainment operations.
He has developed and funds a number of new operating businesses for social causes including Kids Institute for Development and Advancement (www.kida.com), a school for autistic children in Irvine, California; as well as the Port Theater in Corona del Mar, Newport Beach.
- Member of Massachusetts Institute Technology (MIT) Corporation;
- Member of the Board of Fellows of Harvard Medical School;
- Executive Member of California Council on Science and Technology (CCST);
- Trustee of The Foundation at University of California at Irvine (UCI):
- Member of Engineering Advisory Board of Massachusetts Institute Technology (MIT);
- Member of the Board of Councilors of the Viterbi School of Engineering at USC;
- Member of the Advisory Board of the Maseeh College of Engineering and Computer Science at Portland State University;
- Past Chairman of the Board of Directors of Children’s Hospital of Orange County Foundation for Children;
- Past Board Member of the Boys and Girls Club of Boston;
- Trustee of the Board of St. Margaret's Episcopal School
Honors and Awards
- 2005 Computertown Gold Medal (for outstanding technology creation);
- 2006 Recipient of Ellis Island Medal of Honor
- 2006 PICMET Medal of Excellence (for extraordinary achievements and outstanding contributions to engineering);
- 2007 Doctrina Urbi Serviat Award (Presidential service award for exemplary contributions to PSU);
- 2009 Simon Benson Award (Portland State University’s highest honor), in recognition as one of the region’s contemporary pioneers of philanthropy;
- 2009 University of California at Irvine’s Medal Medal (the most prestigious honor of UCI) for exceptional contributions to the University’s mission of teaching, research and public service;
- 2011 The University of Texas at Austin’s Distinguished Engineering Graduate Award (Cockrell School of Engineering’s most prestigious alumni award);
- 2013 USC Viterbi Award
Maseeh actively looks for unique philanthropic venues with large public benefits. He calls his charitable work “Venture Philanthropy” as he applies management principles to effectiveness in community service. Selected examples of his philanthropy are listed below:
Massachusetts Institute of Technology
- Maseeh Hall (2010): The Massiah Foundation donated $24 million to expand the undergraduate student body.
- Maseeh Chair in Emerging Technologies (2003): The Maseeh Chair was held by the Provost and is currently held by Vladimir Bulovic.
- Excellence in Teaching Awards (2002: Department of Civil Engineering)
- Terrascope Program: Freshmen have the chance to couple their research with the crucial visit to a location where they can best learn about all of the issues associated with climate management.
- MITSEED Academy: The Saturday Engineering & Enrichment Discovery Academy is an academic enrichment and career exploration program for students in high school.
Portland State University
- Maseeh College of Engineering and Computer Science (2004): The Massiah Foundation awarded the largest gift in the history of PSU to support building the Northwest Center for Engineering,naming it Maseeh College of Engineering and Computer Science. It also endows professorships and graduate scholarships. First School to be named after an Iranian American.
- Fariborz Maseeh Department of Mathematics and Statistics (2009): Made a philanthropic investment in computational science to increase research and education in large computing and applied fields of Mathematics and Statistics. First Mathematics Department to be named.
- Maseeh Colloquium and Lecture in Mathematics and Statistics: Brings world renowned scholars to the PSU campus.
- Maseeh Fellows: Gives graduate student scholarships in engineering.
- Kamelia Massih Outstanding Student and Faculty in the Arts Prize: Helps create prizes for students and faculty in the arts.
- Portland State University Scholarship
- Kamelia Massih student Lounge, Donna J. Koch Student Lounge, Dryden Drop Tower, Chik Erzurumlu Scholarships
University of California, Irvine
- Samuel Jordan Center for Persian Studies: First independent campus center in the United States for Persian Studies and Culture
- Endowed Chairs:
- Maseeh Chair in Persian Studies and Culture (School of Humanities)
- Maseeh Professor in Persian Performing Arts (Clair Trevor School of the Arts)
- Howard Baskerville Professor of Persian History (School of Humanities)
- Alborz Auditorium: Created challenge grant to name auditorium at the Department of Humanities at UCI (named after the renowned Alborz High School in Tehran, Iran).
- Rollestone Hall (2009): Funded its creation and named after A. A. Rollestone, main benefactor to the creation of Alborz High
- McCormack Theater (2009): Funded its creation and named it after Nettie Fowler McCormick, benefactor to the creation of Alborz High
- Henry Samueli School of Engineering (2003): Created Maseeh Best Research and Best Teaching Awards.
- Various Student Scholarship in Medicine, Athletics; Also Supports through UCI Medal Ceremony.
University of Southern California
- USC Maseeh Endowed Entrepreneurship Prize Competition (2010)
- The Maseeh Prayer and Meditation Room (2004) (at CHOC for Children (CA)
- The Maseeh Chapel at Hoag Hospital (2007) (CA)
- Lawrence High School (1999):Scholarships for college education (MA)
- Encyclopædia Iranica (NY)
- NY Metropolitan Museum of Art: Nishapur Gallery of Persian Art (NY)
- National Ethnic Coalition Organizations (NECO) (NY)
- MIND Research Institute (CA)
- Boys and Girls Clubs of Boston (MA)
- California Zoroastrian Center: Scholarships (CA)
- Newport Mesa School District (CA)
- World Affairs Council of Oregon
- Business Wire (August 9, 2000), 's+Fastest-Growing+Technology...-a063966317 "IntelliSense Named One of New England's Fastest-Growing Technology Companies Second Year in a Row"
- Business Wire (November 30, 1999), "IntelliSense Named One of the Fastest-Growing Technology Companies in the U.S. by Deloitte and Touche"
- "MIT alumnus gives $24M to expand the Institute’s undergraduate student body: Fariborz Maseeh cites pressing need for MIT graduates", MIT News, MIT Press Office, September 8, 2010.
- "UC Irvine Medal Event meets fundraising target" (October 5, 2009)